CapitalWirePR - San Juan, PR - The president emeritus of the Ana G. Méndez University System (SUAGM), José F. Méndez González, passed away last Friday at the age of 85 at his residence in Orlando, FL.
Méndez González led the institution founded by his mother, Mrs. Ana G. Méndez, for 42 years, managing to position it among the leading universities in the country. "Pepe Méndez,” as he was known among his relatives, continued his mother's legacy by becoming an icon of the transformation of higher education in Puerto Rico.
As president of the then Ana G. Méndez University System (SUAGM) since 1974, he managed the transition of the institution from colleges to universities, the creation of university centers around the island to bring education to distant communities, the development of academic schools specialized in engineering, tourism and culinary arts, the integration of innovative study modalities for the adult student, the transformation of a Televised Study Center into the first television channel affiliated with PBS and managed by a university institution (Channel 40, today Sistema TV ), among many other contributions.
It successfully implemented cutting-edge educational projects and programs, among which collaboration agreements with other universities in Puerto Rico and the United States stand out.
Similarly, as part of his initiatives to achieve a greater international projection of SUAGM, Méndez González also established strategic alliances with universities and entities in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. At the beginning of the 2000s, he managed to expand SUAGM to the US to meet the needs of the growing Hispanic community by offering the first bilingual program at the university level in the nation.
In addition, it created the Permanent Scholarship Fund for SUAGM students, which has achieved the support of companies, foundations, and individuals to provide excellent university education to talented students with limited financial resources.
Furthermore, he held important positions in educational organizations in Puerto Rico and the US, such as the Hispanic Educational Technology Services (HETS), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), Universia de Puerto Rico, the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the Association of University Presidents, and the Association of Private Colleges and Universities (ACUP) of Puerto Rico.